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Rotman Pride: A Small Club with Big Ambitions

March 27, 2024

Rotman Pride is a small club that punches well above its weight.

Limin Wang and Vipul Aggarwal (Rotman Pride’s VP Finance) promoting Rotman Pride during student orientation’s club day.

That’s why, when its executive members saw an opportunity to secure funding for its many exciting new ventures, the team didn’t hesitate. Applying some outside-the-box thinking typical of savvy business students, the group applied for the Pillar Scholarship, which is awarded to organizations that contribute impactfully to the University of Toronto community. Last month, the club learned that they had won $5 thousand dollars.

“Normally, the application for Pillar would be for a project or an initiative that your group wants to do,” explains Rotman Pride President Limin Wang. “But our club is pretty small. So in our application, we decided to make the club itself ‘the initiative.’” 

As Wang explains, Rotman Pride’s mandate is threefold. The group prioritizes a safe space for its members and allies, creates opportunities for awareness and inclusivity, and hosts career advancement events. Each year, the group fulfills its mandate through case competitions, mentorship programs, industry nights, and Day of Pink—the club’s most significant event.

Members of Pride’s executive team with the drag queens during the 2023 Day of Pink celebration.

Cesar Laserna, Rotman Pride’s VP of Strategy and Outreach, led the group’s Pillar application initiative. He says the group would not have been able to recognize this year’s Day of Pink on April 12 without the funding. “There’s the venue, catering, a drag show,” he says. “It’s our most expensive event of the year - but it’s also arguably our most important.” The Day of Pink, which can be recognized on different dates- recognized across the world as an international stand against bullying and homophobia.

The group keeps equally busy with career mentoring activities, like its industry night, Wang says. That’s when alumni members who are members of the LGBTQ2 community visit campus to speak, and students have the opportunity to ask questions, connect, and network with other alumni.

"We continue to talk about the importance of promoting a stronger equity, diversity and inclusion agenda.”

“This is really important,” says Wang, “because these alumni share with students what it's like being out in their workplaces. They talk about some of the challenges they encounter, how they navigate them, and how they encourage more allyship. We also talk about the importance of promoting a stronger equity, diversity and inclusion agenda.”

Rotman Pride also participates in case competitions throughout the year. Partnering with other groups, including the Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE), Wang gives the example of one competition last fall where the goal was to help a fictitious company design a workplace policy to promote its inclusion, equity and diversity efforts.In another case competition, Pride teamed up with Rotman’s Healthcare Management Association and its Business Design Club group partnered with Toronto’s Rekai Centre, a non-profit charitable corporation that runs care homes, to design programs and initiatives that can help Rekai Centre to keep their 2SLGBTQ+ patients at the center of their processes, programs and policies and remember their legacy. “It was an exciting partnership,” Wang says.

Wang says the best thing about Rotman Pride is the sense of community.

2023’s Day of Pink T-shirt, wore by participants during 2023 Day of Pink celebration.

“We are in touch with many members of the Rotman Pride, both current students and alumni,” Wang says. “For example, one alumnus from a prestigious investment banking firm reached out, and several club members have since had the opportunity to meet him for coffee. [The alumnus] said he connected because he believes there isn’t enough queer presence and queer representation in his industry.

“Like us, he wants to help change that.”

Written by Meaghan MacSween | More Student Stories »